Vinci: The Rise and Fall of Civilizations
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From prehistoric times through the Middle Ages, many civilizations followed one another. Through conquest, they built great empires and expanded their influence across vast areas. However, these empires would never last. As their influence and responsibility expanded, their inability to maintain control would weaken their empire. Their nation and culture would enter a period of decline. Other civilizations would move in and establish their own empires on the ruins of their predecessors. Thus humanity progressed.
Vinci invites you to become the leader of an incipient civilization. Using your civilization's different skills and attributes you attempt to build an empire. Your opponents represent the leaders of other civilizations, with skills very different from yours. You are all competing for the same resources and territory while building your empires. When your empire grows so large that your people are spread too thinly to expand the empire, you declare that empire to be entering a period of decline. Then you choose a new civilization and begin the process all over again. You earn victory points for every province that your civilizations occupy. The player who earns a predetermined number of victory points wins the game.
With easy to learn rules and beautiful game components, Vinci is a very accessible game. Each game is different from the last because the Civilization Counters offered to the players allow each civilization's characteristics to vary drastically. In order to win in the face of continually changing situations, it is necessary to be an astute strategist. Choosing the best civilization, exploiting its strengths and its weaknesses, declaring the decline of the empire at the most convenient moment are delicate decisions, and this is the challenge of Vinci. No matter what obstacles you encounter, you always remain in the race.
Eurogames Descartes USA
Players: 3 - 6
Time: 120 minutes
Ages: 14 and up
Weight: 1,125 grams
Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are printed in English. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.
- 150 Pawns, in 6 colors, to represent the populations of the empires
- 6 Large Pawns, in 6 colors, to indicate the victory points of the players
- 33 Brown Pawns to represent the population of the declining empires and fortifications
- 45 small cardboard markers, to mark the provinces of the declining empires
- 52 Civilization Counters to indicate the characteristics of the civilizations
- 1 Game Board representing Europe divided into provinces
- 1 Cloth Bag to store the Pawns
- 1 Summary of Play sheet
- 6 Civilization sheets
- 1 Rule Book
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Average Rating: 3.7 in 19 reviews
Vinci is my long time favourite in the class of 2 hour games.
The goal is to realize your own weakness in good time.
Everybody chooses a civilization having some advantages over the others.
Some are strong, some are small, but make a lot of money,
some just pay off because the others don't want them.
Your folks start grand and eventually they will become so weak that
it's time to give up and start with a new one.
The nice thing with this concept is that when you've completely messed up
your people, you just start over and have fun again, instead of paying for
your mistakes for the rest of the game.
This game was more popular than Settlers of Catan in our Friday night group. There is less chance and more strategy involved.
Our group seems to be evenly split between wargamers and casual gamers. This game seemed to make both groups happy. I realize that it depends on the style of game you like to play, but I think this game is better than some of the reviews here indicate.
Yes, there are some ambiguities in the rules, but the clarifications available on the net and some decisions by committee seem to clear things up well enough.
I would also agree that it doesn't seem to work well with less than 3 players. But, so what? Many games don't. We usually play with 5-6 players. If someone slows down too much (some strategizing is allowed of course), we find that saying something like, 'Whose turn is it again? Oh. Of course. Go, go, go, go, go' seems to work fine. That could be peculiar to our little group, I suppose.
One of the neat things that everyone likes about the game is the ebb and flow of the different civilizations. You do get the feel of civilizations growing, expanding then dying. Most games are extremely close (at least between 2-3 leaders) with players usually having a chance to make a come back even when doing poorly.
I even got ambitious and made a Risk-like map of the world with Vinci-colored territories. This may have extended the viability of the game in the group somewhat (we played it at least once every meeting for months).
Easy mechanics, light strategy, reasonable playing time. I highly recommend this game.
In my opinion this is the best game of the year. If world-conquest games are of interest to you at all, Vinci is a 'must have.' Rather than repeat the more detailed reviews that appear here, just let me say that Vinci has more strategic depth and more varied replay than any world conquest game of comparable complexity that I know of. Again, as others have said, make sure you download the errata and, during play, use some kind of 'game accelerator' to keep dawdlers moving along.
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It you're the kind of person who'd love to spend every weekend conquering Europe, Vinci is for you. The game involves some calculation for nearly every action you take, but this aspect makes for more flexibility and a sensitive response to varying conditions. Everyone starts by picking two Civilization Tiles from a menu, which offer various benefits. Use your pawns to conquer, maintain, and expand your land holdings on the board. Your active empire must be one connected group, but an interesting option allows you to place your empire in decline and establish a new one elsewhere. At the end of your turn, take your victory points for occupying provinces. Victory goes to the first person to reach 100 to 150 points, depending on the number of players. Veni, Vidi, Vinci.
This is the latest in the long line of multi-player, 'fight over territory', 'score victory points', 'see who's ahead at the end' games. It differs from its predecessors in being simpler and much shorter. Other games of this type have been the work of wargamers and have had playing times of four hours or more. Vinci has firmly hoicked the idea across into the realm of the general game--two hours to play and a short, well illustrated rule book.
One's first impressions when you see the game are not good. The box art is the work of someone who is not very good at drawing and the board is plain to the point of being ugly. With the top German companies the artist responsible for the graphics gets co-star billing; here anonymity is the rule and it is a kindness that this is so. However, once you have got over the initial visual disappointment, the rest is all positive. M. Keyaerts has done a remarkable job, producing a thoroughly entertaining and fast moving game that has lots of ebb and flow and which is going to follow a different course each time you take it out of the box.
The game is played on a map of Europe and features the rise and fall of civilizations, but there is no attempt at reproducing any actual history. Here each civilization is defined in terms of two characteristics--things such as astronomy, agriculture or superior weaponry--that would have given it an edge over its neighbours. Where it actually appears on the map is up to the player. In this game being a barbarian with good ships doesn't necessarily make you the Vikings.
The characteristics come on a set of counters. At the start of the game twelve of these are drawn and set out in pairs on a track at the edge of the board. At the start of your first turn, you choose one of these pairs and this will determine not only your special powers but how many troops you will have at your disposal. It is a choice process rather like the one in Dirk Henn's game Showmanager: if you take the pair at the top of the menu, it costs you nothing; if you want something from further down the list, you must pay (in victory points) and the further down the list you go, the more you pay. And the process has an added refinement this time in that pairs that have been passed over by a previous player are made more attractive to subsequent ones by an award of victory points to whoever does eventually take them.
Having made your choice you then decide where on the edge of the map you wish to enter. The map is split into provinces of varying terrain types: mountains, forests, the usual stuff. Each carries a basic attack cost and to this you add the number of defenders to find how many troops you will need to commit in order to capture it. For example, an agricultural province has a base value of 2 and so if it has one defender, you will need to move in three troops in order to take it. Note, no dice are needed to resolve the conflict; it is purely a question of committing enough troops. If there were defenders, one is removed from the board and the rest may retreat to a friendly province. At the end of your turn you count the number of non-mountain provinces you occupy and this, together with any bonuses you get from your special characteristics, is your number of victory points for the turn.
The number of troops that you got when you chose your civilization is all that this particular group is ever going to get. This means that after two or three turns, your forces are going to be very thinly spread across your empire and at that point you start thinking about bailing out and starting afresh. To do this you declare your empire to be "in decline". The pieces will stay on the board and will continue to bring in victory points for as long as they survive, but you can no longer do anything active with them. You then choose a new pair from the menu and sit out a turn before starting afresh in a new location. This process of rapid rises and equally rapid falls continues until someone reaches the victory point target that was set at the start.
The cleverness of the design lies in the civilization counters and the way they are handled. As single counters, they seem to be very well balanced and the fact that they come in pairs ensures both lots of variety and some hard decision making when you are deciding what to choose. Two counters may come together in order to make a very effective combination, but when it first appears it will be at the bottom of the menu. How many victory points are you prepared to sacrifice in order to get it? Not easy, especially as in my experience the lead is something that changes quickly and often and the final result is invariably close.
I like this game a lot and it has been attracting much favourable comment elsewhere. Not universally favourable, however: As Mike Ruffhead's letter shows, there are some for whom the lack of real history is a major turn-off. If that is the way your taste runs also, you must look elsewhere, but I think you must also be prepared to accept when you do so that real history comes at the cost of a longer playing time and a more complicated set of rules. For me, I am delighted to have a game of this type that doesn't take all night and doesn't require me to spend the evening before relearning the rules.